Poems about objects have quite rightly found themselves a bad name over recent years, due in no small part to the vast number that are churned out by and for creative writing workshops. In other words, objects are an easy tool for tutors who are driving a session from a common point of departure.
As for myself, I'm fully aware that objects have always played a key role in my poetry, but perhaps even more so than usual over the past few months. However, I don't sit down to write a poem about objects, nor do I use them as a creative resource to mine as subject matter for verse. Instead, they form a crucial part of my exploration of axis moments and their landscape. When portraying a scene, an significant element is often the importance that characters invest in certain objects, lifting them beyond their everyday meaning. This transcendence is highly charged. It may be ridiculous, grotesque, melancholy or delicious, but it invariably provides the reader with a fresh emotional perspective, all played out via the role of objects.
I don't set out to use them, but they populate my poetry and my imagination just like the characters around them. As I grow older, I grow ever more aware of how our exaggerated attitude to certain objects reveals a lot about us. They teach us lessons about ourselves every day.
This is the fourth in the series of reviews I have been posting over the summer months of the 5 collections chosen for the 2017 Forward Prizes Felix Dennis...